Notes: The 2002 Ford Explorer is hands-down our worst vehicle on record. "Avoid like the plague" is putting it lightly.

The 2002-2005 Explorer has a very well-established record of expensive transmission failure at under 100k miles. The Explorer has an enclosed transmission which is typically replaced with a rebuilt transmission at a cost of almost $3,000.

Another common problem for the 2002-2003 Explorer is wheel bearing failure at around 90k miles, with a typical repair bill of $500 to $1000 depending on how many wheel bearings failed.

Adding insult to injury, the 2002-2005 Explorer also has a massive problem with the rear panel cracking. While it's a minor annoyance compared to transmission failure, ironically the crack usually goes right through the Ford logo.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
73,174 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Ford Explorer transmission problems

transmission problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #4

Dec 182002

Explorer 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,519 miles


When shifting gear from "park" to "drive" the column shifter was noticably difficult to move. Without warning, the column shifter fell off, resulting in not having a car to drive. I am currently trying to have the problem fixed.

- San Diego , CA, USA

problem #3

Sep 152004


  • miles
Gear shift fell off. The metal piece attached to the steering column broke.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #2

Apr 142004


  • miles
Consumer stated that gear shift broke off, preventing consume R from driving the vehicle. Also, electric windows broke, one at a time.

- Lake Forest, CA, USA

problem #1

Jan 032002

Explorer 4WD

  • miles
Dealership lost keys. On board computer/security system would not allow remake of key. Ford issues a tsb (ignoring issue hoping warranty would expire before a new key was requested.) 4-wd inoperable. No 4-wd related indicator lamps on dashboard at engine start. Vehicle has been at dealership for over a week "waiting for a back ordered solenoid". "93 other 2002 owners are waiting for parts" to fix same problem.

- Abingdon, VA, USA

Not what you are looking for?